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The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

How NY Acquired the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

"With the President's Permission…"

The New York State Legislature purchased the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation from famed abolitionist Gerrit Smith in 1865, shortly after Abraham Lincoln's funeral train passed through Albany. Smith had won the document in a lottery held at the Albany Relief Bazaar in the winter of 1864. How this priceless artifact came to Albany, and eventually to the New York State Library, is a tale of politics and patriotism, redolent of the city's storied history as the capital of New York State.

 

"With the President's Permission..." How New York Acquired the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was written by Paul Mercer which is located in The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and related documents from the collections of the NYS Library.

How NYS Library Acquired the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Gallery

Bazaar Poster with name and information in the center with a list of committee members surrounded by vignettes of the Albany port, portraits, and scenes of the bazaar grounds

Albany Relief Bazaar Poster

New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, BRO0016+

Larger version of the poster (PDF, 2.37 MB)

Closeup of a scene of the crowded front entrance of the bazaar

Enlargement of the lower-left scene of the Albany Relief Bazaar Poster

Patrons line up outside the entrance of the bazaar entry gate with an American flag flying behind the building. 

'American Relief Bazaar' on a sign atop the entrance.

New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, BRO0016+

Larger version of the poster (PDF, 2.37 MB)

Vignette portrait of Mrs. Emily Weed Barnes with her name written on the bottom

Mrs. Emily Weed Barnes

From: Albany Army Relief Association. Journal, 1861-1869. New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections, BD13614

Front page of The Canteen newsletter with text describing the event and a diagram of the bazaar

The Canteen newsletter, published during the Albany Army Relief Bazaar

From: The Canteen. Albany, NY, 1864. No. 1 (February 22, 1864), p. 1.

Digitized version of The Canteen newsletter (PDF, 28.47 MB), containing twelve issues published between February 22 and March 5, 1864.

Portrait of William Barnes

William Barnes, 1904

Cropped from a larger photo, "Mr. and Mrs. William Barnes, One of the surviving delegates to Saratoga Convention, August 16, 1854."

From: Semi-Centennial of the Republican Party: Proceedings at the Celebration at Saratoga Springs, September 14, 1904, PDF p. 49.

Portrait of Gerrit Smith

Gerrit Smith

Cropped from a larger photo, "Gerrit Smith, Philanthropist."

From: Meserve, Frederick Hill comp. Historical portraits: a collection of photographs printed directly from the original negatives. (New York: Privately Printed for the New York State Library, 1913). Volume 7, p. 68.
New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections V 920 qM57

ticket information including date, location, item name, and handwritten signature of the bazaar chairman and ticket issue number

Lottery Ticket for the "Original Draft of the President's First Emancipation Proclamation"

Larger version of ticket (PDF, .5 MB)

Photograph of NY City Hall front fa├žade with crowds of mourners lining the stairs and a sign that says 'The Nation Mourns'

New York City Hall draped in mourning for Abraham Lincoln

Cropped from a larger photo, "City Hall, New York: Crowd waiting to view the body of Lincoln."

From: Meserve, Frederick Hill comp. Historical portraits: a collection of photographs printed directly from the original negatives. (New York: Privately Printed for the New York State Library, 1913). Volume 27, p. 86.
New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections, V 920 qM57